Florida’s Supreme Court issued an updated administrative order (AOSC21-17, Amendment 3) on January 8, 2022, modifying and/or extending its COVID-19 health and safety protocols for trial courts. This amendment authorizes Baker Act hearings to be heard remotely if the facility in which the individual is located is closed to hearing participants due to health and safety measures implemented by the facility for the pandemic.
All other provisions of AOSC21-17, Amendment 2 remain the same. Face masks, while no longer required to enter judicial centers, may still be worn by those wishing to wear one; also, if someone requests a face mask, one will be provided. Social distancing is no longer required in judicial centers; however, participants may request social distancing and the court will address the appropriateness under the circumstances at the time of the request.
To maximize space in courthouses for in-person hearings, the court has been authorized to conduct hearings using video or telephone conferencing when feasible unless the court finds the proceeding is inconsistent with the U.S. or Florida Constitution, a statute, court rule or court order. In that case, the hearing will proceed in person.